Police Discrimination Against Ultra-Orthodox Jews in Jerusalem

On August 4, 2015, ACRI contacted the Jerusalem District Commander of Israel Police in response to reports of profiling against Ultra-Orthodox Jerusalem residents at the public demonstration following the death of Shira Banki in Zion Square on August 1. ACRI’s Amos Laor noted in the correspondence that the use of profiling against “Haredim” encourages a negative social stigma against them and places them in a humiliating and insulting position that ignores their right to dignity and equality.


For Haredim residents, the knowledge that the police consider them a public danger and detain them due to their belonging to a certain religious group – which is an important part of their identity – reinforces a sense of social inferiority made worse by the fact that it takes place in a public setting. Moreover, the detention of Haredim at the police checkpoints prevented them from participating in the demonstration, violating their right to free expression and to have their voice heard.


ACRI calls on the Police Commander in the Jerusalem District to order the police officers to refrain from using this discriminatory practice.


Following ACRI’s initial correspondence, we reached out again to the Police Commander after receiving reports that the use of profiling had not ceased. We additionally contacted the Knesset Committee for Internal Affairs with a demand that they initiate a committee discussion on the matter.


On August 25, 2015, we received a response from the police, that admitted that they had engaged in profiling at the demonstration, and conceded that the police conduct was in response to instructions from senior officers in the police force.


In response to this admission, ACRI has reiterated its position that the use of profiling is discriminatory, prohibited and illegal. We emphasized that the use of profiling as a matter of policy is even more serious since it attests that this institutional violation of rights has been internalized by the Jerusalem Police Branch and that it is likely to be used again in the future.


Additional Information

ACRI’s letter to the Jerusalem District Commander (in Hebrew)

ACRI’s letter to the Knesset Committee for Internal Affairs (in Hebrew)

The response of Israel Police to ACRI’s correspondence (in Hebrew)


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Categories: Democracy and Civil Liberties, Due Process, Freedom of Expression

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